Monday, April 27, 2015

Quick Character Assessment- The Westing Game

So, we started The Westing Game almost two weeks ago and we just finished chapter 4 today. I told y'all...we are taking it SLOW! After reading the first three chapters, we took a mini break to really analyze and understand the characters. One of my favorite activities was this quick assessment that I used as a homework assignment. We took two of the characters (Barney Northrup and Grace Wexler) and drew them using key details from the text. We also wrote down everything we knew about them (along with traits). This was just after chapter 1, so there wasn't a lot of information to go on, but enough to get a good idea of what type of character they were. Ideally, I would have liked for them to cite where they found the details of the character's physical appearance, as well as supporting evidence for their traits, but this was a homework assignment and I only have 30 copies of the books (enough for one class, not all three). It made for a quick assessment, though! And can we just talk about how great these illustrations are??? Love!














For those of you who have asked about my central questions for this novel, I am in the process of writing all of them and uploading. I was hoping to upload yesterday, but I went and saw The Age of Adaline instead. Let me know if you've seen it and your thoughts! I had some issues with it! 

I'm sharing my favorite drugstore lipstick over on Southern Belle Inspired! Come check it out! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Share: Scary Books


Hey y'all! It's time for our new weekly series where I discuss favorite books. Since last week was the first in the series, I simply talked about the current favorite books in my classroom. You know, the books that had my kids talking! Today has a theme: scary stories! This is a popular type of book in my class and while I don't typically read this type, my kids have enlightened me on popular scary reads, so I thought I'd share with y'all! 

At some point this year, I received 10 free books from Scholastic with an order. Included in the 10 books was a copy of Stolen Children by Peg Kehret. I had never heard of this author, but the kids were immediately taken with this book! I have since order The Ghost's Grave and it's also a hit! Anything by this author is a win in the scare category! 


This next one is a classic, and still a beloved favorite! I was never a fan of Goosebumps (I much preferred The Baby Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley!) but my kids love them! I only have a few, but they are always checked out! 



Another favorite is this series. This was also set that I acquire from free books from Scholastic. Last year's group didn't love these, but this year's group certainly does! Isn't it funny how your classes differ from year to year? :)

One of my reluctant readers gave a book share on this next book and I was blown away by it! This girl hasn't really shown interest in a book all year and was talking nonstop about this one! Her book share was so good that it got all the other kids talking about it! Now there's a wait list for this scary book and kids are researching the author to see if she has written anything else! Love!

What are your favorite scary books in your classroom? Are scary books a hit with your kids? Comment below and let us know! :)



Monday, April 20, 2015

The Westing Game Central Questions and Quick Notes

Happy Monday, y'all! I am SO happy to be back on "normal" schedule and not testing this week! We started The Westing Game last week, but we are taking it SLOW because the novel is complex. Out of all the novels we've read this year, this one is the most challenging in terms of comprehension. There is A LOT to take track of, so we are doing a few things to hopefully make it easier to understand. I thought I'd share with y'all since these can easily be applied to any novel or text. 

Just like with Tuck Everlasting, we are using Central Questions. These are such a great way to guide your reading and hold students accountable for what they read. Love! We read the question before we read the chapter and then the kids answer the question after reading. Sorta like an exit slip. 


The most difficult part of the novel is keeping up with all the characters (over 20!) . To help with this, we are using Kristine's strategy. We also draw character names out of a box and each person is assigned that character. They are required to give us info about their character a few times a week. By the end of the novel, they should be an expert on their character and they will do a few other activities using that character...stay tuned for that!

Since there is a lot of action to keep up with as well, we've started taking what I call quick notes. These are in no order...we just jot down when something important happens or a new character is introduced or when we have a question about something. I do this with each class and depending on the kids' thinking, the notes vary a bit, so I made a chart for each class. Also, if I just did one chart my other two classes would simply copy down what I had written with my first class and that would defeat the purpose of note taking!



I'll be back tomorrow with some ways to keep up with all those characters! :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five for Friday

Who's excited for Friday?? We just finished state testing today, so I definitely am! I cannot wait to be back to our normal routine next week. Here's 5 things from my week!
{1}
I started counting calories and watching what I eat last Saturday and have not cheated once! To celebrate this accomplishment, I purchased these pretties. :) Summer, here I come!


{2} 
I am SOOO excited about this collaboration, y'all! I will be at Target as soon as they open Sunday!


{3} 

Let me tell you. At first, I was a Go Noodle skeptic. I thought, "oh, that's just for younger grades. My fifth graders would think that's silly. Nope. They L.O.V.E. it! We are obsessed with Pop See Ko and I assure you, it will be stuck in your head all.day.long.  We did the calming, relaxation videos before tests and  they loved it! 


{4}

I finished this amazing book today. Go to your local bookstore and purchase it. I promise you'll be sucked in!


{5} 
We had state testing this week and next week is already jam packed, but I'm trying to squeeze in some poetry before April is over with. I ordered this book from Scholastic and I love it! 

Link up with Doodle Bugs!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Novel Study! The Westing Game



Hey y'all! I just wanted to quickly share our new novel study in case you don't follow me on Instagram (msleslieann01). We are SO excited to dig into the mystery genre with this Newbery Winner. Be sure and check back for lots of fun activities! This might just be my kids' favorite novel so far!


Happy Thursday, friends! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Share: A New Series


Happy Wednesday, y'all! I'm excited to announce a new weekly series on the blog called "Book Share". Each week, I'll post a few books that are current hits in my classroom. Sometimes there will be a theme among the books such as award winners, poetry books, "sporty" books, etc. And then sometimes (like today!) it'll be random titles that are popular among my kids.  If you have any requests on certain types of books, email me (lifeinfifthgradeblog@gmail.com). 
I LOVE to see other teacher's recommendations and what their kids are reading, so I thought this would be a good feature on the blog. You can link up below and share too! :)

Let's jump right in, shall we? Here are a few of the most popular books in my classroom right now. You can click the link below each book to find out more about the book. 

Hands down, the current hit right now in my room is The Crossover. After introducing this book to the class as my top favorite book of 2015 so far, it has been in high demand. There is a wait list a mile long and I cannot keep it on the shelf. I've had 3 boys go out and buy it on their own. This is a hardback book, therefore it's a little on the expensive side. For 3 boys to go out on their own and ask their parents to get the book is a huge deal in my classroom. That never happens! This book has motivated all my kids to get excited about reading, especially the boys! There's a reason why this book is the 2015 Newbery winner people. If it isn't in your classroom library, make it happen today! :) 


When I started talking about The One and Only Ivan, I was worried the size of the book would scare some of my kids away. My reluctant readers are always searching for the shortest book that would still be considered a chapter book. The One and Only Ivan is such an easy to read book though and the story is so great! Several kids have come to me when they finish it and are so mad that I didn't warn them about how sad it was! :) 

I started pushing Flora and Ulysses as soon as I finished it and didn't have any luck selling my kids on it. They were intrgued, but not enough to pick up the book and read it for themselves... until one of my very animated girls did a quick book share on it (let me know if you want me to post about quick shares....they are making all the difference in my classroom!). She completely sold the class on this extraordinary book. When she describe how Flora had to perform CPR on the squirrel, hands shot in the air requesting a copy. Love this funny story!



I'm sure your kids are fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. When the new one came out in November, we were so excited! Then we read it and needed something else similar to it to occupy our time until the next one is released. I introduced them to the Middle School series by James Patterson and they are hooked! Again, these are great for those reluctant boy readers. 

                                                     Middle School: Get Me out of Here!

James Patterson also wrote the I Funny series, which is my favorite by him. This book has great current references like Daniel Radcliffe appearing on Jimmy Kimmel. One of my kids pointed this out to me after we had watched this video when discussing alliteration. The books are a hit with my kids who like humorous fiction. 
I Funny: A Middle School Story

I have several kids that LOVE graphic novels. I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I am a huge fan of any book that gets the kids excited about reading, so I'm loving the Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales series. I bought the Donor Party one and my homeroom is obsessed with it. We are super excited about this one that is about to be released. These are great books for your history peeps!
Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party


I would love to know what books are popular in your classroom right now! Link up below and simply comment! :)